Merry Christmas to all. We miss our family but had a great day despite it. Had a meal with eight strangers at the park event and met some new friends. The park organized the event. We donated $4 each for the meat and drinks. Everyone at your assigned table brings two dishes and we sat around like a family at the table.
I am keeping detailed notes regarding establishing our domicile while here in Texas. I planned to include other non-domicile topics that we just happened to have completed during the same timeframes. It became apparent with the amount of data that I should report about our rig being weighed in a separate blog post.
We paid the $55 and had a Weight Master here at the Escapees RV Club weigh the rig. I wrote in the title we had it “professionally weighed” because this is no drive on the truck scale and get a printout. The Weight Master goes over the results in detail and can provide recommendations as needed. The lady who handled the scales teaches at the Escapees Bootcamp. Among other discussions I asked about people having their rigs weighed and complaining about tire blowouts. She says almost always those people have overweight RVs and do little to maintain proper tire inflation.
I tried but could not get a PDF file to work correctly within this post. The file has a feature that allows you to hold the pointer or click on a highlighted area on the downloaded form, notes would then appear regarding each highlighted area. Please email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you the PDF with the ability to view the notes. Otherwise, below is a link to our weight form.
If you are towing or buying a fifth wheel in the 16,000 pound class, which are common for full-timers, then our weights will really help.
Because I could not get the darn PDF form to work correctly and to save you asking me to email it; I’ll include two areas of my notes from the form that are most important:
Regarding Combined Gross Weight Ratings for the Truck:
Before I knew more, this weight limit was what I used to pick a truck. I knew I wanted something capable of hauling 19,000 pounds or less. Because a couple of the heavier trailers we liked had max trailer weights that were 18,000 and 19,000 pounds.
The gross combination weight rating (GCWR) is a specific maximum weight limit determined by the truck manufacturer. The GCWR takes into account two individual (yet attached) vehicles — the tow vehicle and the trailer. Doing the math, our truck is maxed out with a 19,800-pound fifth wheel trailer. (33,800 gross combined weight limit less the max truck weight of 14,000 GVWR).
This was a tricky number for me as the weight charts for our truck clearly indicate it has a max trailer weight rating of 25,020 pounds. I assume this is based on the truck not being at its max weight load to start with.
Our actual truck weighs 9,500 with occupants – and the dog, full fuel but no trailer hitched. Therefore, if the gross combined rating is 33,800 less the actual truck weight of 9,500 you would think I could tow around a 25,020-pound trailer. Apparently I can tow the 25,020 as long as I don’t have the truck packed with cargo.
Our truck has a 3.73 axle ratio. Change that to a 4.10 axle ratio and the gross combined weight limit goes up to 39,100 pounds.
As I found out talking to the Weight Master the truck can only handle the weight limitation of any one component such as on an axle, tires and more.
Regarding the Rear Axle Rating for a Truck:
The rear axle on our dually truck is rated at 9,720 pounds. That’s the max weight of cargo the rear axle can handle. The rear axle, on the same truck without dual rear wheels is rated at 7,000 pounds. I downloaded the charts way before I went truck shopping. And I don’t mean the charts that merely provide the “towing capacity” as those are close to worthless. Get the charts that show the axle weight ratings at the very least. And here is why:
THIS IS IMPORTANT
With the trailer attached the weight on our trucks rear axle is 7,450 pounds. This includes the stuff we are hauling in the bed of the truck, the hitch/pin weight of the trailer, loaded the passengers, fuel and whatever is shifted to the rear axle.
At 7450 pounds on the rear axle the weight exceeds the rating of the same truck that does not have dual rear tires by 450 pounds. Our hitch alone weights 220 pounds. I suspect if I took everything out of the bed of the truck, other than the hitch, I’d be closer to 7200 pounds. THE REAR AXLE RATING may set the actual limit of what you can tow.
Our trailer is rated for a gross weight of 16,000 pounds. We are 800 pounds under weight with a full tank of water and loaded for full time RV living. The rear axle weight on our truck would go up if we add more weight to the trailer.
If you want to guess at what would be the pin weight of a fifth wheel RV you can take the gross max weight of the trailer x 20%. The Weigh Master suggests using 25%. Either way, also add in a little for whatever you think you will have in the bed of the truck.
END OF MOST IMPORTANT – Know your truck’s rear axle rating.
I can see why not having a dually, long bed, diesel truck would be a benefit when you drive it every day. I really can.. Any long bed truck is harder to park and turn especially if you add two extra outside tires. If I only used the trailer while on vacation, there is no way I’d want a dually. But then again, I would not have bought the trailer we have if that was the case. Or if I flat out would not tolerate driving a dually then I’d buy a lighter trailer regardless, maybe something under 14,000 gross weight capacity or less.
The best advice I received before buying a truck was to get one setup to tow. Because towing is when you need to be the safest you can get.
I figured as we are fulltime RVers then our chances of having a crash or weight related issue would be more likely than if we used the trailer for vacations, if for no other reason than we are towing a lot of miles in one year compared to someone who uses their RV for vacation. And these dually trucks are very stable in high wind. If a tire goes flat in the back I’ve got three left to handle the weight while I drift to a stop.
The decision is yours to make.
I don’t have the charts for Chevy and Ford truck capacities. I had them when shopping for a truck however. All three brands build great trucks with almost identical warranties.
If you are towing anything near a 16,000 pound fifth wheel with a single rear wheel truck please watch what you put in the truck bed as you may be very close or just above the max weight the truck can handle per the manufacturer.
It was good to know that at this point we have 2,780 pounds of cargo in our trailer if you include a full fresh water tank with a weight of about 660 pounds. With no water we are at about 2,120 pounds of cargo. Glad I set a minimum cargo capacity of 3,000 pounds when we were shopping for our trailer. Deciding on your budget for a new RV rig and the minimum cargo capacity sure helps lower the number of RV’s to consider. Of course some required a lot less stuff when they travel. And others travel with an overloaded RV.
When the tires of the trailer are weighed individually we are more than 1,000 pounds under weight per tire. These Westlake G rated tires are rated at 4,400 pounds when the Goodyear G’s are rated for less weight. That’s a big reason you are seeing Westlakes on new trailers. Some call them China bombs but they are actually a South Korean Company. So are car companies Kia and Hyundai. So are the tires on all new Ram heavy duty trucks (Nexen).
Now to get Karen used to driving this truck. She drove our last truck but it was not this huge and the long truck bed is harder to turn around corners or in parking lots. Use of mirrors is important. She should have the freedom to drive wherever she wants.